Monday, August 13, 2012


The British papers have caught up with the news that the Queen of Spain and her son and his wife (“Los principes”) were twice denied access to a 'mixed area' (No, I don't know either) at the Olympics a few days ago. This must have been both annoying and astonishing to the Spanish royals, who will surely be familiar with the principle that rules exist to be bent or broken. It seems they didn't have the right accreditation and came up against two volunteers who didn't recognise them from a hole in the ground. The lovely Letizia took several fotos on her phone, so I guess we can expect to see the hapless volunteers on Twitter soon.

In bullfighting, as in every other human (if not humane) activity, there are good days and bad. The trio of maestros at Saturday night's corrida in Pontevedra were dismissed by Sunday's local papers as mediocre, netting only one ear between them. But, by pure coincidence, in El País, there was an article by Mario Vargas Llosa defending bullfighting and citing a particular corrida in Marbella only last week, when exactly the same three toreros had put on an exceptional performance. They say it's the fighting qualities of the bull which determine how well the matador performs. And maybe they're right. Not that everybody wants to see this demonstrated.

I mentioned the young women who'd 'come out' – not as lesbians, of course - at the Peregrina ball on Saturday. To see how they looked, go here and click on the foto to amplify it. You'll notice that only one of the seventeen is not dressed in white. I don't know what the significance of this is, as I find it hard to believe the other sixteen are telling us they're still virgins. Perhaps just custom and practice. And one rebel.

Having stressed just how peaceful the city's post-bullfight drunken revels are, you can imagine how surprised and disappointed I was to read this morning that there were 'at least 8 fights' last night. However, I was somewhat less astonished to see that 15 youngsters had been treated for alcohol poisoning.

I've mentioned the peñas, the bullfight fraternities. They come in different names and diverse colours. One I saw on Saturday was called “The Big Wine Theory”. The biggest – and rowdiest – is a group of professional men who call themselves Gin Kas. Or Gin Tonic. As I know several of the members, one of my challenges on these four nights a year is avoiding getting sucked into their festivities, as they wend from one crowded bar to another. Starting at 9.30 and going through to after 7 the next morning. I have their detailed, laminated program in front of me. As ever, I'm surprised just how efficient Spaniards can be when it comes to having fun. The final venue on the card is for 8am, at the Emergency Department of the city hospital. Along with the intoxicated youngsters, I guess.

So, George Soros, 82, is to marry a 40 year old woman. I'm reminded of the wonderful line delivered by a British comedienne to the wife of an ugly but rich man - “So, Debbie, what first attracted you to the millionaire, Paul Daniels?"

We're probably all a little tired by now – even us patriotic Brits – of the Union Jack. In the last week I've seen it worn by at least four people here, the oddest being as a pair of tight trousers. But yesterday I happened upon the strangest yet, in a shop window. A leather chair coloured to look like the British flag. I'll have to check out the price.

Sorry about the reflections; the sun was full on.



Finally . . . Some good news. The Spanish medal haul benefitted from a final flurry. So a total of seventeen was achieved, with the women outdoing the men for the first time ever. This was down on Peking/Beijing but the same as at Atlanta. Thank God for women. And not just for sports.

Finally, finally . . . Here's members of the GB squad doing their version of Queen's Don't Stop Me Now. Highly viewable.

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